Warning! The UK is experiencing an unprecedented Pet Boom! Thanks to Covid 19 and too much social isolation and lack of “life” as we knew it, over 3.2 million households have welcomed a pet into their homes according to the BBC. This means the UK has 17 million pet owning homes. According to the Kennel Club 1 in 4 people admit to having bought a puppy on complete impulse… welcome the “Covid 19 Puppy Boom”. And ask anyone, puppy prices have shot through the roof. Owning a dog has become the new trend, and like any other hype, sadly it has become something to make money from.
Dog theft in the UK has risen by 170% since the start of the pandemic. Dogs are stolen for several reasons. The first is to breed from the dog and then sell the puppies for a premium. Animal Search UK estimates a litter of 6-8 Labrador puppies to be worth around £15,000 – £20,000. Which dogs are stolen the most? High value dogs such as labradors and french bulldogs. Another reason is to claim a cash reward to return the dog to their owners. There have been several horror stories on the news lately, including Lady Gaga in the US, who thankfully managed to get her beloved pooches back by offering a $500,000 reward. Break ins have been reported where only the dog was stolen – the TV and other valuables were left there.
But let’s not buy into the fear – let’s focus on what we can do to keep our dogs safe instead.
How to prevent dog theft
Make sure you walk your dog on the lead so that there is no opportunity for your pooch to wander off into a side street or around a corner where you can’t see.
Supervise your dog in your own garden at all times! (this is where a lot of dog theft happens) Don’t assume your dog is safe just because it’s your garden. And this is also a very helpful tip for training purposes. By always being there you can encourage wanted behaviour and intervene when necessary.
Don’t use any random services you hear of through your letterbox. Anyone can claim they’re a dog walker or groomer or even from a pet organisation.
Your dog should be microchipped by law anyway but add a name tag to his or her collar as well. It makes it easier for anyone to get in touch with you rather than have to bring the dog to a vet.
Don’t tie your dog up outside of a shop! Seriously, it’s not a good idea. Also for the anxiety levels of a dog, being tied to something on a public street is not ideal to say the least. Would you leave your car on the street unlocked with windows open?
If you live in a house (rather than a flat) make sure you have the needed security systems in place, such as an alarm system, cameras, etc.
Don’t leave your beloved pooch in the car in plain sight whilst you quickly go get the dry cleaning.
God forbid, but if anything bad would happen to your dog, report it immediately, tell everyone you know about it and use social media to help spread the word to find them.
If you see a dog that looks lost or a dog fighting the person they are with, do something! Ask questions, report it, cause commotion.
A little personal note: let’s focus on the positive and send our energy towards that whilst being that extra bit careful and mindful, adapting to this new pandemic driven world.